By OKECHUKWU PEACE
Two of the serving Senators who were also present at the at a state dinner organised to mark 2016 Democracy Day have reacted to claims by Senator Ben Murray-Bruce that he was prevented him from “greeting” President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Senator representing Bayelsa State, on Monday claimed that operatives of the State Security Service had prevented him from “greeting” President Muhammadu Buhari due to his hard stance against government.
But in separate reactions, Senators Shehu Sanni (Kaduna) and Sola Adeyeye (Osun) denied the allegations levelled against the President by their colleagues.
Read their full reactions below…
We met with Mr President at the Villa yester night. He was frank and blunt with us and we were honest with him.He addressed us, and those nominated to speak responded,raised issues and asked questions of which he answered. I actually wanted to speak but I was not so lucky.
I was surprised to learn that one of us later disclosed that he was prevented by security agents from coming close to Mr President. I personally experienced NO such. And I don’t think Mr President can bar any legislature from coming close to him for holding different opinion on National issues. I always have an independent mind and will always speak my mind when there is the need to do so; For decades, Mr President knows me for that and still respect me for that. Its not everything the security agents does that Mr President will know.
Mr President address to us was comprehensive and satisfying. Wishing him Lord’s blessings and good health in this historic mission to rebuild our great country. PMB is a leader we most need and deserve at this time.
“I was at the dinner. I sat in the front row along with other Principal Officers of the National Assembly. I had a vantage view of what transpired. I am disappointed by this comment from a respected colleague. I have on two occasions provided robust defense of Sen Ben Bruce. Not this time!
It was Sen Dino Melaye who first went to greet those seated at the President’s table, including President Buhari. He was well greeted. No one in the senate has criticized President Buhari more than Sen Melaye. But as others rose to do what Dino had done, the scene got clumsy and indecorous because people were approaching the President’s table from different directions. I sat between Sen Olujimi and Sen Bwacha. The three of us felt embarrassed by what was clearly a breach of dinner protocol. At that level, if dinner was served or being served, good etiquette demanded that the President’s table should not be approached. One should wait until people had finished eating. No senator in the USA would breach such elementary protocol. We (on my table) predicted in whispers that colleagues would soon be barred from approaching the President’s table and it happened. The first person to be turned back was Sen Gemade who was visibly embarrassed. He belongs to the APC; he is not a known critic of the President.
When I noticed that most people had finished their food, I approached the table and offered my pleasantries. Others followed suit. No one was turned back.